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SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s Current Affairs Focus (CAF) Mains 2017: Day 11

  • IASbaba
  • October 22, 2017
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SYNOPSIS : IASbaba’s Current Affairs Focus (CAF) Mains 2017: Day 11

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1. India-U.S. bilateral relations have developed into a “global strategic partnership”, based on shared democratic values and increasing convergence of interests on bilateral, regional and global issues. Comment.

Introduction:

Increasing aggressive expansionist policy of china has brought India and US more together. Recently US have offered India high technologies in defense sector and fighter jets to ward of any threats from hostile neighbors.

Body:

How it has developed to global strategic level:

  1. Bilateral:
  • LEMOA: Logistics exchange agreement that gives access to both militaries for refueling and logistics support at each other bases.
  • Nuclear: Building of nuclear power plants for civilian purposes. Ex: Civil nuclear pact.
  • Defence: Sharing of defence technology and equipment. Ex: Chinook helicopter, Fighter jets, Drones etc.
  • Space: Co-operation in space technology. Ex: LIGO, Radar station, NISAR etc.
  • Military exercise: At Dehradun in jungle warfare among others.
  1. Regional:
  • Military exercise: To contain China’s presence in India ocean. Exercise Malabar involving Japan.
  • Afghan policy: Involving India to achieve peace and stability in Afghanistan.
  • SAARC: US is a permanent invitee to SAARC.
  • Anti-piracy: to eliminate and provide safe passage to threats from pirates in Indian Ocean.
  1. Global Issues:
  • Terrorism: Both play major role in fighting and eradicating terrorism from world.
  • Financial Intelligence: Creating a global task force to share financial details to eliminate terror funding, tax evasion, tax haven etc.
  • Environmental Issues: Like Climate change, oil spillage, renewable energy etc.
  • NPT: US is helping India in joining NPT and other global organizations.

Conclusion:

After India under took LPG reforms, US started becoming closer to India and that took a major change in 2005 with signing of joint co-operation agreement for 10 year period on various issues ranging from Science and technology to Defence. Also the civil nuclear agreement is in its final stages of completion. With US help, India can achieve the dream of super power status and become a global leader on various fronts.


2.What is the H1-B visa programme Bill? How does this affect India? Examine.

Introduction:

Recently a US senator introduced H1-B programme bill in US congress, which seeks to amend certain rules for this particular visa. H1-B visa is employment visa issues by US government which gains legal employment permit to work in USA.

Body:

The bill seeks to hike the salary limit for visa from $60,000 to $130,000 and remove restriction or classification of issue based on origin. These two are the major changes.

It affects India in following ways:

  1. Positives:
  • Employment: It helps most of the Indian companies to move back there centers back to India there by providing more employment to educated youths.
  • FDI: Outsourcing companies rather than hiring, will outsource the jobs cheaply to India or invest in units here.
  • Brain drain: It will limit the outflow of talented and skilled youths from India and their knowledge can be utilized for growth and development of country.
  • Technology transfer: Increased labor cost will make companies transfer their high techs into India to help in cheap manufacturing.
  • Foreign exchange: It will help in inflow of people and services into country to help/train local man power in development of world class services there by helping in increased foreign exchange.
  1. Negatives:
  • Top level management: Removal of country limit will lead to increase in visa available for Indians of top level management and might lead to movement of high skilled/golden collared employees moving out.
  • Reverse brain drain: Will lead to drastic inflow of NRI’s, providing suitable opportunity for them will be difficult.
  • Students: It might lead to increased student level migration, which is best option available.

Conclusion:

The new bill is both boon and bane for Indian economy. Most of the Indian educated student from top class institution would study at government cost and move out for better opportunities. But this might also lead to some friction in India-US relations due to pressure form lobbies.


3. Shared concerns about China have brought India and Japan closer with both the countries developing a closer defence partnership defined by regular maritime exercises and high- level political consultations. How far these concerns are real and justified? Critically examine.

SYNOPSIS:

Japan and India have a long bilateral partnership extending recently to defence and security ties.

DEFENCE AND SECURITY:

  • Defence and security relationship between India and Japan have been the primary driver of their bilateral relationship. The two countries have shared concerns about China, with which both have major territorial disputes. India’s outreach to the United States and the declaration of Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region has boosted this aspect of the relationship.
  • Japan became a permanent member of the Malabar exercise between India and the US in 2015 and is also engaged with India and Australia in a trilateral dialogue.
  • The two countries have advanced their cooperation in the maritime security domain, have signed agreements on defence technology transfers and have agreed to share classified military information.
  • Japan was the only nation to extend public support to India during the Doklam crisis with China. Japan’s support for India’s position was a manifestation of the evolving security partnership between the two countries.

But it would be short sighted to say that their relationship in defence has grown closer only due to presence of China despite mutual concerns It would rather be seen as a logical extension of these ties from Infrastructure, Nuclear and space ties.

OTHER AREAS OF COOPERATION:

  • India and Japan have also been cooperating in other areas, such as nuclear energy and space. The two countries signed a civil nuclear agreement during Modi’s visit to Japan in November 2016. The agreement came into force in July 2017, making India the first country that has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to have signed a civil nuclear deal with Japan.
  • Similarly, in the space arena JAXA and ISRO have had cooperation since 1960’s and played a great role in establishing TERLS etc.
  • Economic engagement between the two countries has translated on the ground in the form of ventures such as the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail corridor, connectivity projects of immense strategic value in India’s North-East and development of 12 industrial parks. Japan is also assisting India in developing civilian and strategic infrastructure in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • Japan is currently the third biggest investor in India, with investments rising substantially during 2016-17. Japan invested over $25 billion in different sectors across India, constituting 8 per cent of the country’s overall foreign direct investment (FDI) during this period.
  • Another area where economic and strategic challenges have forced the two to come together is the Indian Ocean Region with the New Asia Africa growth corridor to increase connectivity and also emerge as an alternative to Chinese OBOR project

From all these avenues of cooperation it may be concluded that defence cooperation between Japan and India is a logical corollary of common vision and outlook and mutual trust based on decades old friendship rather than based on narrow perspective of China axis alone.


4. Littoral states must promote regional groupings like IORA to promote inclusive and sustainable regional development. Discuss.

SYNOPSIS:

Littoral states are those states surrounding the seas and oceans and  are faced by common challenges across the world

CHALLENGES:

  • Keep shipping lanes open
  • Keep fishery stocks viable by practicing sustainable fisheries management.
  • Forecast and tackle disasters like the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami
  • Promote trade, education and tourism links across the region
  • Women empowerment on a high priority
  • Curbing piracy which according to World Bank costs the global economy around (U.S.) $18 billion a year
  • Ensuring maritime security and maritime safety
  • With increasing challenges of climate change and rising challenges of ocean acidification, plastic waste both sustainable

IMPORTANCE OF REGIONAL GROUPINGS FOR LITTORAL STATES:

Since many of the littoral states are small and lack bargaining power vis-à-vis developed countries especially in international fora there is a need for regional integration to promote both sustainable and inclusive development.

These regional groupings like IORA, BIMSTEC, SIDS, Baltic ocean grouping bring diverse countries together and give them a common platform to voice their views apart from that working on Free trade agreements, sustainable manageable challenges like disaster management exercises It also covers cooperation in commerce, technology, investment, agriculture, tourism, human resource development, fisheries, transport and communications.

Regional integration can play a vital role in diversifying economies away from dependence on the export of just a few mineral products; in delivering food and energy security; in generating jobs for the increasing number of young people; and in alleviating poverty and delivering shared prosperity.

Deepening regional integration therefore, provides both opportunities and challenges to the sound management of extractive resources and translating wealth from these resources in to diversified economies and equitable growth.


5. Should India be concerned over growing Russia-Pakistan ties? Give your views and way forward.

Why Pakistan is eager to be friend of Russia?

Pakistan wants Russian cooperation to upgrade its military hardware, including Mi-17 helicopters and T-80UD tanks.

Pakistan also wants to exchange military-to-military exchanges with Russia.

Why Pakistan is important for Russia?

For decades now, Russia’s South Asia policy had focused on cultivating a special relationship with India and keeping Pakistan at arm’s length.

But nowadays, Russia’s main concern is narcotics smuggling through Afghanistan, growing religious extremism and China’s growing influence among Central Asian Nations, including Afghanistan. (Central Asia has huge reserves of minerals)

Many in Russian Government believe that Pakistani Army provides the best lever to effectively influence Afghanistan’s Government.

Russia wants Pakistan to award the work of building its section of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline to Russian energy company Gazprom. [Although Gazprom had wanted Pakistani Government  to award this contract without bidding, but Pakistan is reluctant to do so. Therefore there is some bitterness in relationship.]

Why India’s fear about Russia Pakistan Relations is misplaced?

Some Indian Foreign policy experts believe that Russia has found a new ally Pakistan.

But this does not necessarily mean Russia would want to give up its special relationship with India.

Russia’s softness towards Pakistan is unlikely to acquire any alarming dimension in the near future.

Russia is not unaware that India’s arms market is much bigger and Pakistan does not have the financial resources to become an attractive customer like India.

What should India do?

Russia is still a dependable ally and the range of its assistance — from sharing knowledge for the indigenous Arihant nuclear missile submarine project, the leasing of the Chakra nuclear attack submarine and first rights on the new fifth generation fighter aircraft — cannot be ignored.

When circumstances change and interests are redefined, great powers have no hesitation in recasting their foreign policies. There is no room here for sentimentalism.

So, Rather than protesting Russia’s or any other great nations’ engagement with Pakistan, We must focus on strengthening our own ability to influence the developments in Afghanistan.

 

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